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The Laws of Reading the Megillah

The Laws of Reading the Megillah

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When?

• One is required to hear the Megillah twice during Purim, once during the night and a second time during the day.

• One may read the Megillah at night anytime from Tzeit HaChochavim - when the stars come out - until Alot Hashachar - rising of the morning star (to find the time in your city click here). The Megillah may be read on the day of Purim itself anytime from sunrise until sunset. If, ipso facto, one read the Megillah for the day after Alot HaShachar, he has fulfilled the Mitzvah. However, if one read the Megillah for the previous night after Alot Hashachar, the consensus of most Rabbis is that he has not fulfilled the commandment of reading the Megillah at night1.

Who?

• Children should be encouraged and trained to listen to the Megillah. Parents should supervise their children to pay attention to the Megillah and not disturb anyone. Children who are too young to remain still and not disturb those that are listening to the Megillah should not be brought to the synagogue. Children should be taught that the listening to the Megillah is the main purpose of going to synagogue and not the banging at the mention of Haman's name2.

• A person who is hard of hearing and can hear only if he is spoken to in a very loud voice, or needs the assistance of a hearing aid, is also required to listen to the Megillah. Moreover, he is permitted to read the Megillah for others (who will thereby fulfill the mitzvah through his reading.) However, one who is deaf, but is able to speak, must read the Megillah by himself, but cannot read the Megillah for others3.

Where?

• It is preferable that the Megillah be heard in a synagogue where there are many people, rather than having it read in one's home. One must even interrupt his Torah studies in order to fulfill the mitzvah of hearing the Megillah.

• Although it is preferable to hear the Megillah where there is a greater number of people, if one prays on a regular basis in a synagogue (which does not have so many people) it is not necessary for him to go to a larger synagogue4.

How?

• The one reading the Megillah is required to roll out the complete Megillah and then fold it over folio over folio. Although it is stated that the listeners are not required to do the same with their Megillah, it is the Chabad custom as well the custom in some other communities, that the listeners do unroll and fold the Megillah.

• The reader should read the Megillah in a standing position.

• One is not permitted to talk at all while the Megillah is being read and until after the blessing of "Harav et riveinu."

• One cannot fulfill his obligation of hearing the Megillah if it is heard via telephone or a live hookup.

• One is permitted to use the Megillah of his friend without the latter's permission (if he is reading it in that person's house), unless he knows that there is a possibility that the owner may object to its being used by another person.

• It is a good idea for the reader to repeat the word "Haman" after all the noisemaking has subsided, just in case one may not have heard it the first time around, since there are those overanxious people who just can't wait to bang with their noise makers ("the gragger") and may have started before the reader even finished the word "Haman."

• If the one reading the megillah has already heard the megillah and thus fulfilled the mitzvah, it is advisable that those listening should say the blessing "Lishmoah Megillah" themselves rather than have the reader say the blessing5.

Note: When the Shehecheyanu is said at the morning reading, one should have in mind that this blessing should also include the mitzvoth of Mishoach Manot, giving of charity to the poor and the festive Purim meal.

Footnotes
1.
Nitei Gavriel Hilchos Purim 11:1 {3}.
2.
Nitei Gavriel Purim 12:2, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 141:7.
3.
Nitei Gavriel Purim 12:8-10.
4.
Nitei Gavriel Purim 14:3.
5.
Based on Magen Avraham 585:3.
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3 Comments
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Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org March 28, 2016

For rules to have value they need to be specific. Rules without details are meaningless. Reply

Anonymous March 28, 2016

Why are the rules so exacting,ie having to hear it twice, hearing every word, not fulfilling one's obligation if listened to via phone, online, etc? Reply

Anonymous Denton Tx March 23, 2016

Book of Esther Thank you so much for the emails and allowing us to read the Megillah. With commentary. We live 30 to 40 minutes from the nearest Synagogue. Reply

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